Business or Pleasure?

Business or Pleasure? Boy or Girl?

Someone emailed to me, “I’m sorry to see you had to work on Saturday night.” I don’t understand why because the “work” was only a couple of emails that I sent. And I was happy to do that on a Saturday night, just like I was perfectly happy to spend the entire Tuesday morning shopping for a mountain bike.

Someone asked me, “Are you having a day off?” when I had simply enjoyed a stroll in a park and a caffè latte in a coffee bar. This puzzled me because nobody ever asks me if I’m having “a day on” when I skip my daily walk and my moment of relaxation with a book in a bar.

Someone asked me, “Is it for vacation or for work?” when he heard that I will be traveling to the United States in August. It made me wonder why people expect my trips to be either work or leisure, and never both. Truth is, I’m moving my whole life to the US, for a period of two weeks, including my significant other.

Why are people so conditioned to categorize everything?

Why do they need separate boxes for “working” versus “free”? “Business” versus “pleasure”? “Days on” versus “days off”?

Extremes are illusions. Nothing is black or white. Much more interesting is the fuzzy stuff in the middle.

I’ve promised myself, next time someone tells me they have a new baby, I will not ask them, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Instead, I will ask, “Is it happy?”

image: (c) 2007 Eric Fleming, Creative Commons 2.0

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  • Roberto Bera

    “Is it for vacation or for work?”
    If you have to pay it’s for vacation, if you are payed it’s for work ! 🙂

  • Wes Akers

    I think the reason people want to categorize work vs personal time is it’s too easy for one to bleed over into the other in an unbalanced way. If your working hours are fluid, then it’s no big deal to send a few emails on Saturday evening, but if you spent a solid day working on Tuesday and the expectation has been set that you will also be answering emails in the evening, then it becomes a problem.

    • jurgenappelo

      Likewise, it is a problem when people do their private chores during work hours, while not compensating by answering an email or two in the weekend.

      I wonder why readers always mention the first problem and never the second. I’ve witnessed both. 🙂

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